Please Do Not Call Me South Africa

I am Azania land of black folks
Grain grown when stones were
still as soft as butter.
I am Azania land of Zenji
Truth made redundant
by the tyrant´s gang
I am Azania I ran wild and free - I tamed iron long before the steel-ore
plunderer came.

I have seen kingdoms rise
I have seen kingdoms fall.
I once stretched my hands up to the coast of Somalia.
Deep deep by the great walls of Zimbabwe.
There my name is entombed.
I am Azania once land of hospitality.
I flung my arms to captain Diaz en Vasco da Gama
for I thought them lost.

We sang and ate, danced and laughed.
I had plenty to give for I knew nothing of their design.
Then one day, one infamous day in 1652,
the treacherous seas belched forth.
Three drunken ships at table bay
Dromedaris, Reiger, Goede Hoep.
As dusk was inching
We met
We clashed.

Their ribs into our Assegais
my sons and daughters
fell too, in a hail
of settlers´ bullets.

Battles of yesteryear
are engraved in my memory.
I praise you sons en daughters
of Thaba Bosio, Isandlawane,
Sandile´s Kap, Keiskamahoek, Bloodriver
I praise you all.

I am Azania - land of Black folk.
I bend but not break.
My name itself - a platform and programme
scattered the white mists over Kliptown.

I am Azania Mangaliso Sobukwe
heard my call - then there was Sharpeville.
I am Azania the name reconciled
with itself in deeds of Bantu ka Biko
The name wrapped up in a forest of black fists
in Soweto.

I am Azania - battered flesh in the Bantustans,
Sturdy voices of Robben Island.
I am Azania - the mind ventilates
back its own breadth, sweat, tears en blood
trapped in gold particles.

I am Azania - mourn made murmuring,
murmuring made cry, cry made shriek,
shriek drilling in the settlers’ ears.

I am Azania - the feared black bull
in the tormentors dreams.
I am that black dot
on the boers white history books.
Black consciousness unbound
only the pure I take for I have no time

I am Azania land of ZENJI -
burning truth churns the tyrants- gang
truth made the dream
and dream made the truth

Please do not call me South Africa

Written by: Ahmed Cheikh

He was born on 26 November 1954 and died 12 September 2009 in his home Town of Dakar, Senegal.

Cheikh was a Pan African activist poet who, best known as a cultural activist, contributed, as part of the Political Economy Study Group, to the first edition of Eurocentrism and the Communist Movement. Even in the cold London streets, his activism reached out as an African citizen of world against injustice. He helped found Black Action for the Liberation of Southern Africa (Balsa) which worked with the Black Consciousness Movement of Azania and the Pan-African Congress to break the stranglehold of Anti-Apartheid Movement’s sole recognition of the ANC, and supported the neglected, less fashionable struggles as in Eritrea.

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